UKIP councillor accuses Milton Keynes Council of missing the boat over Greg Rutherford gold

Greg Rutherford jumps to London 2012 gold. Below, Lee Barney.
Greg Rutherford jumps to London 2012 gold. Below, Lee Barney.

A UKIP councillor, who recently defected from the Conservatives, has criticised Milton Keynes Council for not acting quickly enough to publicly celebrate the success of Olympic champion Greg Rutherford.

Lee Barney, councillor for Walton Park ward, has revealed the council’s plans to hold ‘an event’ for Rutherford and any potential Paralympic Games medal winners in Campbell Park on Saturday, September 29 – eight weeks after the 25-year-old won long jump gold.

But Mr Barney has accused council leaders of being “narcissistic” and said he was disappointed that the city hadn’t done more to honour Rutherford in the immediate aftermath of London 2012.

“I was shouting at the TV for Greg like most people,” he said. “I was thrilled to see him win and I’m sure he understands the level of support he has had from people in Milton Keynes.

“But I’m disappointed that it’s taken so long to do something. I was a Conservative councillor so I know how they think. They will enjoy turning up and posing for pictures with him. And he’ll get some sort of commemorative item like Red Bull Racing did.

“I’m all for doing something for the Paralympians as well. But they could have done something just for Greg straight away. We should have had the bunting up for a big welcome home. Woburn Sands did it.”

Details of the event in question remain sketchy, but it’s thought the public event in Campbell Park will come at around lunchtime after a civic reception at the council offices in the morning. Rutherford is than likely to attend the MK Dons home game against Crewe Alexandra that afternoon.

A council spokesman said that plans were still being finalised for an event on September 29.